Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Diego Estan,

How are you? I got your e-mail address from an article I read [about the DALI Opticon 8 loudspeakers.]

I am interested in getting a pair of these DALI speakers and would like to ask you your honest opinion if these are any good. I live in the Caribbean on the island of Trinidad and we have no way of auditioning these, hence relying on other people like yourself. I have several questions:

Can these speakers work in a room 19’ long x 13’ wide, with one wall 10’ high and the other 16’ high? I would say my listening is moderate, maybe sometimes loud for a short period of time, and I sit roughly 11’-12’ away. I could move the sofa closer if needed (10’).

Do the DALIs produce enough bottom end (bass) or [do they] require an external subwoofer?

I would like to pair these speakers with a PrimaLuna EVO 400 tubed integrated amplifier and EVO 100 DAC, or a Parasound solid-state A 21+ amplifier and P 6 preamplifier (DAC included). Can I drive a 4-ohm speaker with an 8-ohm amplifier? Are there any downsides here?

Would you say that these Opticon 8s are good value for the money? I could also consider a pair of satellites using external subwoofers. I currently have a pair of SVS SB-2000 subwoofers new in boxes.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanking you in advance,
Trinidad and Tobago

Thanks for reading my review. I’ll try to answer all your questions, so here goes:

Yes, a pair of DALI Opticon 8s should have no issues working in a room your size (my room is a bit smaller at 15’W x 12’L x 8’H). One of the DALIs’ strengths in my room was their bass performance -- I was satisfied. I would wager most listeners would not go looking for a sub in a room your size with the DALIs, but, this is only an educated guess -- bass performance is very room and speaker-placement dependent. So, you shouldn’t need a sub, but I personally feel that just about any speaker will benefit from the addition of one or two subs. I happen to demand very good bass from my system.

With the amp choices you mentioned, you should be fine in terms of power. We measured the DALIs at 88dB sensitivity (2.83V/m). Sitting in a room your size, 10’ away, you should be able to achieve 102dB SPL (quite loud) with even the 70Wpc from the PrimaLuna. Choosing between the Parasound and PrimaLuna will be a personal choice -- I haven’t heard either. I’m not personally a fan of tubes, but, of course, many audiophiles are.

One thing I’ll mention about the Parasound combo (other than ample power) is that the P 6 offers full bass management. If you opt to use your subs, having bass management will be invaluable, and will help to bring your system’s performance to a whole new level. I recommend you unbox the SB-2000s and try.

Regarding driving 4-ohm speakers with an amp rated at 8 ohms. First, a speaker’s impedance is referred to as its nominal impedance, because it varies with frequency. The spec you see (e.g., 8 ohms or 4 ohms) is more like an average. In the case of the DALI Opticon 8, we measured its impedance curve and found it to hover around 4 ohms between 100Hz and 500Hz. In the bass, it never dips below 6 ohms. In the treble, it rises to between 6 and 8 ohms. Overall, I’d call the DALI Opticon 8 a relatively easy 4-ohm load to drive. Both amps you mentioned can drive 4-ohm loads without issue (the PrimaLuna has both 4- and 8-ohm outputs, while the Parasound is specified at 400Wpc into 4 ohms).

I hope that helps. . . . Diego Estan